Animal house: A case for pets at Colby

Being a Mule has many advantages; however one policy I wish would change is allowing students to have pets on campus (including mules).

For me, the worst part of leaving home is saying goodbye to my dogs. Although saying goodbye to my siblings is never easy, and I do miss my parents, my dogs are definitely what I miss the most about home.

Sometimes I miss my pups so much the only way to keep my sanity is by looking at all the dogs and other pets on campus. On numerous occasions I have found myself asking strangers if I can pet their dog, ultimately disregarding their answer and going in for a belly rub.

As an incredibly loving human being, dog fanatic, and overall Mother Theresa, I have a tendency to form unconditional bonds with my pets. Whether with a dog, turtle, snake, or white mule, the bonds we form with animals are incredible, as I often find myself treating my animals better than myself. While I choke down yet another slice of Sodexo pizza, my dog eats the finest brown IAMS pellets from his monogrammed gold bowl and drinks Brita-filtered water from his dog chalice.

The happiness my dogs bring into my life is not the only beneficial aspect; dogs, as well as many other animals, can help reduce people’s stress levels.

Studies have shown that fish have a tranquil, calming effect on people, which is a reason many health facilities have fish tanks in their buildings: to calm patients before they go into surgery, or even something as simple as calming a child before their first dentist appointment (think of the girl from Finding Nemo).

With the high stress levels Colby students face between class, homework, sports, and figuring out what parties to go to on the weekends, it would be nice to have another animal to vent to besides your roommate who is sick of hearing your never-ending complaints.

If fish just don’t get your blood pumping (or slowed down rather) dogs and cats also have this same calming ability. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, triglyceride and cholesterol levels, which can also reduce the risk of a heart attack.

Additionally, Fido can also help increase one’s endorphin levels. Owning a dog will give you one more reason (aka the only reason) to go outside and exercise, increasing your endorphin levels and decreasing stress. 

Just in case I have not mentioned enough reasons why it is great to own a pet, I’ll throw one more at you: meet and greet. What better way to meet new people than owning a pet and having it slobber all over a stranger?

For example, you are walking around campus with your pet and people begin crowding around it, petting it, holding it, talking about the pets they left at home or how they wish their parents let them have a pet. Soon enough you have people texting you if they can come pet your cat, walk your dog or feed your fish. Not only are you relaxed because your pet lowered your blood pressure, but now your popularity status has skyrocketed.

However, owning a pet does take a lot of responsibility. You have to pay for all of its needs, you have to feed it, walk it, play with it, and not everyone is a big fan of pets. So, I will reason with you, Colby. At least bring dogs to campus during finals.

Many colleges do this, including University of Richmond, Macalester College and Emory University. Bringing dogs to campus would not only allow students a quick study break, but it would also help lower stress levels, and what would be better than walking out of Miller and be greeted by a puppy?

Leave a Reply